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Should Teachers Be Allowed to Text Students?

Should Teachers Be Allowed to Text Students?

What is an appropriate level of electronic communication between students and teachers? Should educators communicate with their students through cell phones, online chatting, or Facebook at all? These are the questions that the Fernando County School Board in Florida are asking as they prepare to vote on a texting ban between students and teachers.

Bryan Blavatt, superintendent of the Hernando County school district, believes that electronic communication between students and teachers is unnecessary and risky for educators, who may encounter legal problems as a result of unauthorized and undocumented communication. He said:

We’re constantly having to deal with electronic media and we want to send a consistent message to staff. As far as Facebook messaging and phone calls– we can’t carte blanche say they can’t do it. But we can say we don’t think it’s a good idea and that they shouldn’t do it. (Education Week)

I know that I would be uncomfortable if my child received personal messages from teachers outside of school. But information regarding homework assignments or discussion questions mass-texted to the entire class may be a different thing. Lisa Nielsen, author of “Teaching Generation Text: Using Cell Phones to Enhance Learning” believes that texting is the most effective way to reach students, and that young people have found e-mail to be outdated “for at least five years” (Huffington Post).

What do you think? Is there any reason that teachers should be communicating with students outside of school hours on non-school issued devices? While some say that social media may help disengaged kids reconnect with school, others believe that the blurring of personal and professional boundaries is too great a risk to take.

Share your thoughts below in the comments.

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4:56PM PST on Jan 5, 2013


9:47AM PDT on Sep 20, 2012

I had the phone numbers of a few of my High School teachers and I never abused that. in fact some of those teachers were not only educators, but friends and mentor also. I loved so many of them, and a select few helped to shape who I am and how I view the world. It would be difficult to enforce a text ban. And if schools are employing responsible adults then there shouldn't be an issue. If a teacher is going to have inappropriate conduct with a student, texting wont be the issue. They will do the misdeeds with or without a cell phone. Instead of making rules like this, perhaps we should be stricter on the quality of people we hire to educate and mold our children.

11:56AM PDT on Jun 18, 2012

I have seen people text a friend, who was just across the room, texting under such circumstance is just plain dumb...the dumbing down of an entire nation.

People, today's many issues demand that you have your wits about you.

The recent case were a fellow was sent to jail for killing another motorist had, up until the crash...texted nearly 200 that day.

Just 7 months ago, I was rear ended by a fellow who was texting, he continued to do so even as the policeman tried to tell him what the 2 tickets were for. He too, had been texting throughout his morning, that is the beauty...there is an electronic trail, it cannot be erased or denied.

Teachers texting students is a situation that is ripe for many abuses. Just for once, let us try to do the right thing, before it gets out off our control.

11:08PM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

I'm on the fence on this one.

12:43PM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

Texting students and friending them on Facebook are good things to avoid. If it's part of the school's protocol as being up-to-date with communication and technology, then fine, but establish rules, like using school phones or using the institution's designated social networking accounts so it's all documented. That way there is little room for accusations in case a student misinterprets a message as suggestive and fewer questions about a teacher's personal life!

I was a teacher and I loved having my down time to myself--I wouldn't want students texting me questions when I'm done work for the day. I knew some teachers who texted students, but I found it was best to keep things professional and within the realm of the profession, not my private life. Students should try to solve things on their own and ask questions the next day.

12:14PM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

No teacher better contact any of my children via text or phone or email or in any form that is outside of the classroom. Nearly 1/3 of American households do not have a computer and nearly 2/3 can't afford Internet, so we are a long way from using either to mass teach our children. They spend 7 hours at school -- that's plenty of time for their teachers to convey any messages they need to. I better never catch a licensed professional in my kids' personal lives in any manner. Ridiculous this topic is even up for debate.

9:42AM PDT on Jun 17, 2012

I think an email is sufficient enough. The only reason I feel that texting should be involved is if the students home life is dangerous but even then it is better to contact someone else about that.

3:57PM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

2:02PM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

sounds a bit weird to let a teacher text a student like they are friends..

2:45AM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Should humans be allowed to communicate with other humans? Only an insane society would begin to think of asking such a question. Incredible!

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